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24th May 2006

A £3.8 million plant has commenced active commissioning ready to clean up effluent from the next phase of decommissioning Dounreay's Prototype Fast Reactor.

The start-up of the plant marks the end of a highly successful design and construction project, which has maintained an exemplary safety record on behalf of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority by UKAEA and its contractors.

The new plant will clean up effluent that comes from the dismantling of the old effluent treatment plant, decontamination of redundant components from PFR and the liquid effluent from the buffer store pond.

It is the latest stage of a £200 million project that will see Britain's second and last fast reactor completely dismantled by approximately 2032 on current projections.

The new facility is an essential part of the next stage of cleaning out the reactor in a way that does not damage the environment. It will collect the effluent, filter solids, neutralise and abate them using ion exchange units where required, prior to sampling and sentencing. The treated effluent is then transferred to the neighbouring Low Level Liquid Effluent Treatment Plant for discharge to the sea in accordance with authorised discharge limits.

Dr Jim McCafferty, PFR Decommissioning Manager, said: "The successful
operation of the new plant is integral to UKAEA's programme delivery. UKAEA Project Manager Mike Moore and his project team have overcome significant challenges to deliver this project on schedule and have demonstrated commitment and enthusiasm to develop a facility crucial to the site decommissioning programme."

The plant has recently undergone a gateway review to confirm its readiness for service. Acquisition programmes and procurement projects in central government organisations are subject to Office of Government Commerce gateway review, an independent check which examines a programme or project at critical stages in its lifecycle to provide assurance that it can progress successfully to the next stage. The review team concluded that the project had been well managed, instilling confidence in stakeholders. They highlighted several instances of significant good practice, which might be transferable to other programmes and projects, hence benefiting other areas of the Dounreay site decommissioning.

The main contractor was ALSTEC, supported by JGC Engineering and Technical Services, Nicholson Engineering Services, Orion Gow, JA Barnie, Capelrig, John Gunn and Sons, MM Miller (Wick), Isleburn Structural Steel, Budge Formwork, Petrie Painters, Mowat Technical Services, ADT, Pentland Construction, Arch Henderson and Johnson Controls.

Key factors in the safe delivery have been Alstec's development of a proactive health and safety culture on the site and UKAEA's experienced and professional project staff. The plant will be operational for the duration of the PFR decommissioning programme.


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